She laid back, her breath rapid. Fire crystals pulsed dimly, their light shimmering off her smooth skin. Her nakedness partly covered his nakedness, a leg draped over another’s. He too laid back, breathing hard. Koyu sat up. She glanced over to the man she just laid with. He glanced at her. His eyes were green and unflinching. Koyu was lost within them as she always was; the man was simply a mystery. It was as if she knew him, and then there was his presence that made her heart quicken and her belly flutter. She leaned over, held his chin, and kissed him, deeply.
“What was that for?” The man asked.
“I can’t kiss you? After all we did? Have done?”
The man sat up as well. “We’ve kissed before, but you only kiss me like that when you have something on your mind.” He then brought his legs over edge of the bed and stood up. As he dressed, his back was faced towards her.
“I heard it was pretty eventful at the gathering…” Koyu started, but did not continue. Those words were enough. They hinted as for him to tell her more. It may stir his thoughts: ‘Was this what was on her mind?’ But he would never know. She would never say.
“That’s right. It was eventful,” He sighed, but said no more. Grabbing a pillow, Koyu threw it at him. The man stumbled and then chuckled.
“Stop teasing, and just tell me what happened!” She pouted
“Oh. That’s right. You were not there. Busy handling other affairs, weren’t you? How did that go? Was it successful?”
“Yes Yes, it was. Now tell me! The other servants were discussing it, but I know you have some further insights. You’ve probably figured out the meaning behind it all, maybe even some new details.
The man was fully dressed now. He stood tall in his long, dark green tunic. It was embroidered at the neck, travelled down to the hemp which ended at the knee. He wore blood red pants along with dark green slippers. The air exuded from him was of nobility. The man’s name was Official Lun.
Official Lun walked over to the corner of the room and sat down in a padded wooden chair. He lit a long, thin pipe and puffed out a few wisps of smoky air. A few minutes passed by, and just when the anticipation was nearly brimming over within Koyu, and she was about to say something, a harsh voice passed his lips .
“If you had just done what you were supposed to do, we would not be in this mess.”
Koyu frowned. What she was supposed to do? There were many things that he wanted her to do but she did not go through with. But what did that have to do with this event? That piqued her interest even more.
Official Lun sighed. “As you probably have heard, someone, most likely a man based on stature, entered the party from the central platform. Only the upper functionaries of Arrodine, like the seven fifth level servants, can operate them as well as the king and the emperor along with his powerful cohorts of our great dynasty.” He took another draft from his pipe. “The emperor or any of his people visiting this poor outskirt is highly unlikely.
“Furthermore, that man was clothed in a faded blue cloak and wore no shoes. It was as if he were making a statement. ‘A man of power comes humbly’, maybe? When he came down, he said nothing. Even as the chancellor came out and spoke to him, he still said nothing. In fact, after a while, the man not only ignored the chancellor but went right back up! Such an action was an immediate slap to the chancellor’s face! And in front of the most important people of the city, no less.
“Of course not many know of this, it was done a bit ‘hush hush’, but after the cloaked man left, the chancellor sent out a call for his arrest and detainment. At the same time, a search for Servant Makron has been issued.”
Koyu eyes were lit in surprise. “You cannot mean that Makron was the cloaked figure, can you? Impossible!” In fact this was the first time she heard that the interloper was wearing a faded out cloak. She heard he was disguised, but nothing more. Now thinking on it, she did meet someone like that before…
“Come now. You can surely put two and two together. Regardless of who the cloaked figure was, the chancellor sure believes it was Servant Makron. Especially since the man went missing from his ‘physician’s’ side at around the same time. If it was not Makron, the chancellor sure wants it to seem that way.
“Of course it could also be the king. Though at first they only said that he was injured in a hunting party, it could be another ruse. It’s possible that the king has finally found a way to deal with his all too powerful of an official, the chancellor.”
Koyu was now breathing hard. Her mind reeled. All of this was a bit sudden. Things were moving too fast. What did this all mean? She heard rumors that Makron was taken inside the castle after his earlier mission. Apparently he was injured and needed tending to, but since no one saw him… She always figured they would always try and get rid of him somehow, but wasn’t this a bit too open?
The seven upper functionaries serve the house of Arrodine, an ancient house predating the dynasty, and followed the rules set by their First Master. The King was just considered an indefinite guest who ruled the city from Arrodine. He was given power to order the servants, second to the First Master, but could not punish the upper functionaries. Even though the First Master had such power, it was only within his castle, not of the city.
So if Makron dies, even if it’s said that it was by him succumbing to his injuries, there would be a full investigation. If there were any doubts, there would be bloodshed. No. The King’s faction needed more of a reason, even if Official Lun says that their faction managed to get two of their own as bonded upper functionaries. There are always the other four, not including Makron. More importantly, even if two of the seven fifth level servants were on the side of the king and the chancellor, they were still bonded. Unless they had a valid enough reason, they would not just vote the king or the chancellor’s way.
Thus Koyu was utterly confused. But as if Official Lun knew what Koyu was thinking, he said, “Just now the chancellor released a statement saying that King Orno’s injuries were caused by Makron and that Makron tried to assassinate the King!”
Koyu’s eyes went wide. “Impossible!”
“They say Makron was injured, in turn, by the various guards protecting the King. The King’s soldiers and the city guards will testify to that. Why? If it is not true, then I do not know how they plan to pass Arrodine’s investigators. Once more, apparently the King is at death’s door.”
Koyu could not be more shocked. She recalled that stern old face; the lascivious gleam in his eyes when he looked at her. She remembered how goofy and unfettered he was at times. Could that man, could that Makron really be played at as the assassin of Orno?
“Miss him, already?”
“Hmph.” Koyu snorted; but didn’t say anything to refute him. “Is it because of him that you say I messed up?”
“Yes. If the King is truly injured, the chancellor can make a move to kill the king and displace him. The emperor would not care about who has what position in a small place such as this. Once that happens, things would get a lot harder for us. But if you had just bided your time with him a little longer, you would be in a position so that I could make some moves.”
Koyu got dressed. “That old bastard asked me to marry him. Marry him! It was fine using him to elevate me to the fourth level, but if I married him, the other fifth level servants would never vote to include me. You know that!” She harrumphed. “It would be like giving someone too much power! Hmph. There goes your moves then. Poof. Like a puff of smoke.
“Luckily, I never had to share his bed, getting to my rank was rather easy; a few flashes of hair and a battering of the eyes… But fear not, Official Lun, the chancellor may not get what he wants…,” Koyu said with a mysterious smile.
“Hmm?” For Koyu to bring up something that he did not already know was rare. His head raised and his eyes bored into Koyu with interest. But Koyu just finished dressing and begun to stretch. It was, apparently, Official Lun’s time to wait.
“Ok. Ok. What is it. You’ve garnered my interest.”
Koyu’s smile deepened. “I saw the face of the hooded one. Based on where I saw him go earlier, and how he wore no shoes and a similar cloak, it was most likely him. Who else would be able to enter the Castle’s third floor without permission?”
Official Lun’s hand gripped the arm of his chair. It grew tighter and tighter with anticipation. He was waiting on a few simple words. More explicitly, four of them. These four would bring things back into his favor.
Koyu finally said slowly, “I saw his face, heard his voice. That man, was definitely not Makron!”